Does “everyday” have to be boring? Bagel is a curious case of product innovation. The team at Bagel Labs took a tape measure - possibly one of the dullest objects around - and made it genuinely exciting by weaving familiar elements into a piece of smart technology. An inspiration for aspiring inventors.
Their inspiration? Redesigning tradition. Measuring, they say, has been an everyday essential for as long as intelligent human beings lived. But both the product and the process had barely changed - which beckoned to their creative minds toward radical redesign. So Bagel Labs decided to re-invent a typical mechanical measuring tape by enhancing the user experience around it.
Smart tape measure?
Like all smart products these days, Bagel works with your phone - allowing you to voice record and send data to a custom app for analysis and storage. This eliminates the pesky need for manual jotting of numbers, making measuring much neater.
Bagel is different also because it provides two additional measurement modes to the conventional string type: the wheel mode (useful when measuring with a single hand) and the laser mode (helpful in measuring perfectly horizontal or vertical surfaces).
Owing to new improved experiences that Bagel provides, people love the idea behind the product. We notice that it appeals particularly to the crafty and creative types that like tooling and working with their hands: from DIY enthusiasts and aspiring fashion designers to construction workers and fitness professionals.
Balancing off technology and design
Optimal product innovation aims for a healthy balance between the needs of technology and the dictates of design - and Bagel has struck this balance easily. It took the team just under five months to get the first prototype out, with second and third iterations following swiftly in the following few.
They have developed their own sensor, whose technology has been backed impressively by six patents. Design wise, Bagel is more ergonomic than your typical magnetic tape measure and thus more comfortable to work with, and its final rendition is as sleek as a tape measure could ever get.
All of this has been made possible thanks to the multi-talented band of five led by an engineering genius and maverick innovator Soohong Park. Bagel Labs have launched two crowdfunding campaigns to date. Their first Kickstarter was a litmus test of Bagel’s commercial potential - which it sailed through easily: they ended with more than $1.3 added to their account that will be used to finance the product’s first large scale manufacturing milestone. Recently closed Indiegogo was also a huge success, with Bagel Labs exceeding their original funding goal by 4513%.
But it wasn’t just crowdfunding that made Bagel a success. Precursors to it have been many exhibitions, competitions and presentations - a testament to the foresight of Bagel Labs’ founders in investing resources into a highly diversified promotional campaign.
Bagel is a living proof to the abundance of opportunities for innovative redesign: physical products waiting for their turn at makeover are all around us. And the real challenge is not changing appearances but rethinking human experiences: only that can breathe new life into objects that may be many centuries old.